In A Thousand Plateaus (1980), Deleuze and Guattari oppose a rhizomatic model for thought to arborescent (tree-like) hierarchical structures.
From Rhizome.net: “As a model for culture, the rhizome resists the organizational structure of the root-tree system which charts causality along chronological lines and looks for the original source of ‘things’ and looks towards the pinnacle or conclusion of those ‘things.’ A rhizome, on the other hand, is characterized by ‘ceaselessly established connections between semiotic chains, organizations of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles.’ Rather than narrativize history and culture, the rhizome presents history and culture as a map or wide array of attractions and influences with no specific origin or genesis, for a ‘rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo.’ The planar movement of the rhizome resists chronology and organization, instead favoring a nomadic system of growth and propagation.
“In this model, culture spreads like the surface of a body of water, spreading towards available spaces or trickling downwards towards new spaces through fissures and gaps, eroding what is in its way. Continue reading
Jean-Francois Lyotard was one of the first philosophers/theorists of postmodernism. He wrote about it in the 1979 book “The Postmodern Condition.”
“Incredulity toward meta narratives” (e.g. progress of history, knowability of everything by science, possibility of absolute freedom)
Micronarratives: He points out that no one seemed to agree on what, if anything, was real and everyone had their own perspective and story. We have become alert to difference, diversity, the incompatibility of our aspirations, Continue reading
These philosophical concepts are often used incorrectly or interchangeably when discussing the problem of the knowability of our reality — do we really know what we know? how do we know? are we asking the right questions? I admit that I have often used these terms somewhat loosely, without fully understanding the differences between them. After some reading and reflection, I wanted to outline my understanding of how they overlap and the differences between them.
For me, thinking about the etymology of the words themselves is helpful.
Epistemology, from ‘episteme’(knowledge), means ‘the study of knowledge,’
Ontology from ‘onto” (being) means the ‘study of being.’
Cosmology from kosmos (order or world) means Continue reading
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either — but right through every human heart — and through all human hearts.
-Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago (1973)